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Starting a cold Yanmar 3GM30F


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#1 mrgnstrn

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 02:30 PM

Does anyone have a trick or tricks to ease the starting of a cold 3GM?

I can get it running pretty easily if I blast it for 15 minutes with a heat gun...but this requires 120VAC.

Some diesels (marine and on the road) have glow plugs to encourage ignition on cold days.

I don't want to resort to a starting fluid solution; worried about blowing my boat up.

Are there any tips out there? Can a glow plug or heater be installed in the intake manifold to get the air temperature up a smidge? 12VDC solutions are the best, because they would be available away from the dock.

-M

#2 Gatekeeper

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 02:44 PM

Try this...I learned this from a Yanmar Tech at a seminar.

Go below and open the decompression levers (all three), close the water intake valve (hydro lock!!), and turn the engine over for 30 seconds...close the decompression valves, open the water valve and start the engine.

This is also the proper way to start a Yanmar after a winter lay up.

#3 sailman

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 02:45 PM

Does the engine have a decompression lever? If so, then you should crank the engine with the lever depressed and when the engine is at speed let it go.

#4 Hike, Bitches!

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 02:59 PM

What Will said...kinda what GK said, but popping them closed while it is spinning should allow it to kick off. You should only have trouble with the water intake if you crank for too long. A few seconds (5-10) should be OK.

We've had to do this frequently with a single lung Yanmar with no glow plug after it spent a lot of time sitting..wasn't so bad once we got some fresh fuel in it.

#5 Gatekeeper

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 03:23 PM

If you have good battery power they should be no need to drop the levers while spinning the engine...and if the original poster sails alone, it's really tough...this is more about getting engine oil up, and increasing compression.

#6 Soņadora

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 03:26 PM

Great tips! We had no trouble strating our Yanmar up after winter layup until last spring. After several cranks it finally started and belched a big black cloud of soot. Never had any problems the rest of the season, so I assume we didn't do any damange :(

Really though, I think the best way to start a cold Yanmar is to put it on a truck (make sure the boat is attached) and get the whole thing as close to the equator as possible. ;)

#7 SemiSalt

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 03:43 PM

Take the battery indoors for three or four hours, reinstall and start while it's still warm.

#8 CrazyR

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 06:41 PM

Here is my way of starting an engine while I'm on a mooring in cold weather.

1. Boil a kettle of fresh water on a stove.
2. Soak the engine in boiling water.
3. Crank the engine with decompression lever on for a few seconds.
4. Release the lever.

It works.

#9 DrewR

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 06:56 PM

Ok, a topic near and dear to my heart. I am usually one of the 1st boats launched at my New England marina and one of the last hauled, if I do even haul it. (this year I am not). This year will be the 6th annual day after Thanksgiving Buzzards Bay sail for us, so the water by then is damn cold, usually 40F or less.

My 3GM30F is a cold blooded beast indeed. In water temps below 45F or so, here's my technique:

- Open throttle wide, thats right WFO.
- Put battery switch on both. Late in the season I am usually in a slip rather than the mooring, so the batteries are usually fully charged and using BOTH seems to help.
- Crank for maybe 10-15 secs.
- Stop and repeat.
- Once the engine blows some grey/black smoke, it usually fires. But working the throttle back and forth as I am cranking helps once it stutters.

But beware overheating the starter.

I've only once had to resort to squirting a little WD40 into the intake, but that fired it up right away. I've never had to use the compression release, and I have started the motor up when its been just about freezing. I don't have any heat in the boat, but I do like the idea of a heat gun if I am in a slip, I will have to get a cheapie and leave it onboard.

#10 Avocet

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:04 PM

My old Perkins does not have glowplugs but does have a little thing called a "thermostart". It is, essentially, a small diesel flamethrower mounted in the intake manifold. I push the button for about 15 seconds, turn the key, and she fires right up - even when close to freezing.

I don't know if Yanmar has an option like that - it's a simple system and could be easy to install. Otherwise, decomp leavers and hot water sound like a good way to go. Do you have a diesel heater on board that has water coils in it? Coming up with a way to circulate warm coolant from the heater through the engine might not be a bad way to go. . .

-Avocet

#11 pipsqueak

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:09 PM

glow plugs draw too much juice?
i had a 29 hp factory fresh with glow plugs. saw cold only one thanksgiving week in north carolina; with a wind gen and a devoted starting battery (gell), it fired right up.

#12 kevlar®

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:19 PM

A friend with a 2GM20 said to turn it while holding out the engine stop for a few seconds.. repeat maybe twice and go to start. I did it and I got black smoke coming from the top of the ENGINE when it started.. which freaked me out. I shut it down, looked over the top end, and all seemed ok. Started normally. I think I may have cranked a little too long.

I don't think I screwed anything up.. I'm sure it may need a fuel tune up. Thoughts? Tks.

-- this was 2 weeks ago. Kind of chilly.

#13 Gatekeeper

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:52 PM

A friend with a 2GM20 said to turn it while holding out the engine stop for a few seconds.. repeat maybe twice and go to start. I did it and I got black smoke coming from the top of the ENGINE when it started.. which freaked me out. I shut it down, looked over the top end, and all seemed ok. Started normally. I think I may have cranked a little too long.


Don't re-invent the wheel...the engine is not intended to be started that way. Dock experts are dangerous people. I don't accept advice unless I read it in a manual, or hear it from a qualified tech. So feel free to ignore my previous post :blink:

Two of the most inept people at our club talk with such authority, they can fool newcomers for a few seasons. I saw a 2GM20 destroyed by advice given by one of them..."don't shut of the intake valve, you'll fry the water pump" so instead of just solving a bleeding problem (new filter), it hydro-locked and destroyed the engine.

#14 tiz

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 08:04 PM

A friend with a 2GM20 said to turn it while holding out the engine stop for a few seconds.. repeat maybe twice and go to start. I did it and I got black smoke coming from the top of the ENGINE when it started.. which freaked me out. I shut it down, looked over the top end, and all seemed ok. Started normally. I think I may have cranked a little too long.


Don't re-invent the wheel...the engine is not intended to be started that way. Dock experts are dangerous people. I don't accept advice unless I read it in a manual, or hear it from a qualified tech. So feel free to ignore my previous post :blink:

Two of the most inept people at our club talk with such authority, they can fool newcomers for a few seasons. I saw a 2GM20 destroyed by advice given by one of them..."don't shut of the intake valve, you'll fry the water pump" so instead of just solving a bleeding problem (new filter), it hydro-locked and destroyed the engine.


+1 Stick with the basics.

Be sure the fuel system has no air in it and no little (bronze crush washers) leaks that only seep a tiny bit of diesel. Bled well, and with good batteries, I've never seen a yanmar that wouldn't start before you could release the starter button winter or summer. If it is still hard to start get the valve adjustment checked and be sure the exhaust elbow isn't clogged.

YMMV.

--Kevin

#15 kevlar®

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 08:31 PM

A friend with a 2GM20 said to turn it while holding out the engine stop for a few seconds.. repeat maybe twice and go to start. I did it and I got black smoke coming from the top of the ENGINE when it started.. which freaked me out. I shut it down, looked over the top end, and all seemed ok. Started normally. I think I may have cranked a little too long.


Don't re-invent the wheel...the engine is not intended to be started that way. Dock experts are dangerous people. I don't accept advice unless I read it in a manual, or hear it from a qualified tech. So feel free to ignore my previous post :blink:

Two of the most inept people at our club talk with such authority, they can fool newcomers for a few seasons. I saw a 2GM20 destroyed by advice given by one of them..."don't shut of the intake valve, you'll fry the water pump" so instead of just solving a bleeding problem (new filter), it hydro-locked and destroyed the engine.


+1 Stick with the basics.

Be sure the fuel system has no air in it and no little (bronze crush washers) leaks that only seep a tiny bit of diesel. Bled well, and with good batteries, I've never seen a yanmar that wouldn't start before you could release the starter button winter or summer. If it is still hard to start get the valve adjustment checked and be sure the exhaust elbow isn't clogged.

YMMV.

--Kevin


Yeah.. I hear ya. It made sense to me though. I'm sure I need the valves checked, and I'm suspicious of air getting in somewhere. I don't think there are issues in the exhaust since the issue isn't persistent.

Thanks.

-Kevin

#16 Gatekeeper

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 08:40 PM

Kevin

It doesn't make sense, but it appears to...the "kill" disrupts fuel, while the decompression levers disrupt ignition. Don't take any dock advice without a written warranty.

I own an automotive shop and often get asked for my opinion on power issues with memeber's boats...I always qualify my answer as "in my opinion" or "my guess is" but unless I know 100%, I try to stay out of these things.

Your Yanmar 3GM is not your grandfather's Massey-Harris ;)

...and NO ETHER!!

#17 austin1972

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 02:33 AM

Try this...I learned this from a Yanmar Tech at a seminar.

Go below and open the decompression levers (all three), close the water intake valve (hydro lock!!), and turn the engine over for 30 seconds...close the decompression valves, open the water valve and start the engine.

This is also the proper way to start a Yanmar after a winter lay up.


30 seconds? That seems extreme on the starter. Once it's turning over at speed, pop the decompression valves instead? On the whole, this reads right though.

Does anyone use Power Service Winter and/or biocides in their boat fuel? Also, water's gotta be in fuel that sits that long through warm/cool cycles, no?

Boat diesels have a hard life IMO. Sit, sit, sit, idle, run 10 minutes, sit, sit etc. Diesels like to be run often and hard.

#18 Gatekeeper

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 01:09 PM

30 seconds? That seems extreme on the starter. Once it's turning over at speed, pop the decompression valves instead? On the whole, this reads right though.


The engine has no load, but you are probably right...30 seconds is more appropriate for first start after a long lay up, 10 seconds for a routine cold start would probably be more than enough.

#19 Albatros

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 03:40 PM

can't help it, but you guys make me feel ever so snug with my Volvo with its preheating ;)

but then on the other hand, previous yacht had a more than 10 year old Yanmar 1GM10, and even in mid-winter keeping the yacht in the water in the north of Holland where it can be horribly cold ... always started at first push of the button, must have been lucky then.

as for warming batteries, depending on question if you have a battery switch that can switch to All, you can do same trick as recommended on cars in winter : put the lights on for a couple minutes before starting the engine, the drain from batteries to lights or other applications is usually enough to warm them up sufficiently (that's theory, have never had to do that in anger up to now, feel free to debunk it)

#20 Gatekeeper

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 04:06 PM

Consider it debunked...old wives tale...just like the one about sitting a battery on a concrete floor will damage it...more bunk.

The new series Yanmar engines have a preheater that I believe also preheats air all the time the engine is running...makes less "clack" on combustion, and results in a much quieter, cleaner, running engine.

#21 sailSAK

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 09:40 PM

Old fishermans trick up here in Alaska... If it doesn't start in 15-20 seconds stop, wait a FULL minute and try again. Seems this lets the heat generated from the first attempt fully soak into the cylinder walls, piston and combustion chamber making the next try much easier. Also better to let the starter cool a little. Best thing to do, if you have shorepower anyway, is put a small heater in the engine space for an hour or two. Starts just like it would in Mexico :)

#22 Ishmael

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 12:14 AM

How about an oil pan heater, or a heater that goes in the coolant exchange line? Still needs 120 VAC, but it could be a permanent installation.

#23 floating dutchman

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 09:21 AM

How cold are you talking? I have a 2gm20 and I don't think you can even install glow plugs. Mine stars first time every time and it a 97 model so its not a new motor.
Has the problem always been there or is it a new problem? Sort of sounds to me like something isn't as new as it used to be and pre-heating it with a heat gun is just making up for another issue.

Also winding the motor for 30 seconds with the decompression levers on will do no harm to the starter, no load to over hear the starer but I would hold the stop on to avoid filling the cyclinders with fuel.

#24 mrgnstrn

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 01:43 AM

Thanks to all who gave insight.

I should have clarified that I was talking about starting in freezing and near freezing conditions.

Mine is an '87 model, likely due for some deep and invasive maintenance, but I am trying to extend the status quo for a few more years.

Lifting the decomp. levers, getting some fuel in the cylinders to seal the rings, and letting the oil get to all the corners sounds like a rational thing.

But do most Yanmar owners in the North just have a 2nd starter switch to deal with the need to be in two places at once?

-M

#25 sailSAK

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 02:10 AM

This isn't exactly a Yanmar issue. No diesel wants to start in near freezing or below temps. Just the nature of the beast. In regards to a second start switch alot of the fishing boats up here have that. Most I have seen just have a start button in the wheelhouse and another in the engine room. I don't think they use it for cold starting, more for maintenance, but if you were shorthanded and needed to hold decomp levers at the same time as starting the engine I suppose it would work. Just remember to wear tight clothing and if you are one of those people with hair longer than the back of your neck do something to make sure it won't get caught in belts. While I never have known anyone that had that happen, I have seen some nasty training/safety videos that make you think twice. I'll never put a ring on my finger either... holy shit thats gotta hurt!

Thanks to all who gave insight.

I should have clarified that I was talking about starting in freezing and near freezing conditions.

Mine is an '87 model, likely due for some deep and invasive maintenance, but I am trying to extend the status quo for a few more years.

Lifting the decomp. levers, getting some fuel in the cylinders to seal the rings, and letting the oil get to all the corners sounds like a rational thing.

But do most Yanmar owners in the North just have a 2nd starter switch to deal with the need to be in two places at once?

-M



#26 Zonker

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 05:57 AM

I have a similar vintage 3GM30F. When it has sat for more than few days without running it's always reluctant to start in cooler weather. I open 2 of the 3 decompression levers, go back to button and start it. After 1 cylinder begins to fire, the vibrations (or maybe it's designed that way) pop the other 2 decomp. levers in and it runs on all 3 cylinders. Manually tripping the levers if it is running on 1 cylinder is not that hard either. Just don't delay in doing it.

If it has been run within a few days, it always starts right up, suggesting that the rings are not at their best and need a bit of oil/fuel to get them to seal better.

#27 Nomenclature

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 07:43 PM

Boat diesels have a hard life IMO. Sit, sit, sit, idle, run 10 minutes, sit, sit etc. Diesels like to be run often and hard.

This is why I believe that electric propulsion makes more sense for a sailboat auxiliary.
You do not have to warm them up, or struggle to start them. You just put it, in gear and go.
You often need to warm a diesel up for 15 minutes for 5 minutes of powering in and out of the slip.
All the above anecdotes, and my own recalcitrant diesel, are making me that much more intent
on going electric.
I realize that just like the Electric Car, it is not for everyone. Especially since more and more
people use their boats like motor boats with auxiliary sails. But I am happy to sail everywhere.

#28 dyeakle

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 12:22 AM

I can't say about the cold but I have had a few issues with mostly dead batteries.About 4 seconds of WD40 in the intake really helps get the compression up.I have also wormed the intake manifold with a propane torch.Both ideas can get you in allot of trouble if you take them to far.they can help with a bleed down that is not going well.It is also a good time to see if any of you battery connections are getting warm.

#29 mrgnstrn

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 02:26 AM

Boat diesels have a hard life IMO. Sit, sit, sit, idle, run 10 minutes, sit, sit etc. Diesels like to be run often and hard.

This is why I believe that electric propulsion makes more sense for a sailboat auxiliary.
You do not have to warm them up, or struggle to start them. You just put it, in gear and go.
You often need to warm a diesel up for 15 minutes for 5 minutes of powering in and out of the slip.
All the above anecdotes, and my own recalcitrant diesel, are making me that much more intent
on going electric.
I realize that just like the Electric Car, it is not for everyone. Especially since more and more
people use their boats like motor boats with auxiliary sails. But I am happy to sail everywhere.


This whole line of reasoning is pretty short-sighted.
Where does the electricity come from? Magic? Shore power?
Fine if you are only doing races within 1 miles of your dock.
Useless for everyone else.

Eventually, you will need to re-charge something (batteries, fuel cell, etc) and behind that electrical generator is a prime mover, burning dino-juice.

-m

#30 Ishmael

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 02:45 AM

Boat diesels have a hard life IMO. Sit, sit, sit, idle, run 10 minutes, sit, sit etc. Diesels like to be run often and hard.

This is why I believe that electric propulsion makes more sense for a sailboat auxiliary.
You do not have to warm them up, or struggle to start them. You just put it, in gear and go.
You often need to warm a diesel up for 15 minutes for 5 minutes of powering in and out of the slip.
All the above anecdotes, and my own recalcitrant diesel, are making me that much more intent
on going electric.
I realize that just like the Electric Car, it is not for everyone. Especially since more and more
people use their boats like motor boats with auxiliary sails. But I am happy to sail everywhere.


This whole line of reasoning is pretty short-sighted.
Where does the electricity come from? Magic? Shore power?
Fine if you are only doing races within 1 miles of your dock.
Useless for everyone else.

Eventually, you will need to re-charge something (batteries, fuel cell, etc) and behind that electrical generator is a prime mover, burning dino-juice.

-m


Solar panels can provide quite a bit of battery power, and if you are happy to sail everywhere you could probably keep it in your power budget...providing you had all LED lighting, no refrigeration, etc.
There is no way in hell I could use an electric motor with my power budget. The genset would be running 3 hours a day keeping the 800 Ah of batteries going.

#31 Nomenclature

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:36 PM

This whole line of reasoning is pretty short-sighted.
Where does the electricity come from? Magic? Shore power?
Fine if you are only doing races within 1 miles of your dock.
Useless for everyone else.

It is true that an electric only system will not work well for
you if you are frequently doing 30 mile powered deliveries.
And that shorepower will be part of the recharging operation.
But my reality is that I can go an entire month without using my engine at all.
At least 80% of the time I am able to sail out of, and back into the slip.
Most of my races start 3 miles from my slip, which would easily be in the
range of a simple electric system.

#32 floating dutchman

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 05:02 AM

This whole line of reasoning is pretty short-sighted.
Where does the electricity come from? Magic? Shore power?
Fine if you are only doing races within 1 miles of your dock.
Useless for everyone else.

It is true that an electric only system will not work well for
you if you are frequently doing 30 mile powered deliveries.
And that shorepower will be part of the recharging operation.
But my reality is that I can go an entire month without using my engine at all.
At least 80% of the time I am able to sail out of, and back into the slip.
Most of my races start 3 miles from my slip, which would easily be in the
range of a simple electric system.

I'm sure It has a place for some users but like cars the range is the issue, People seem to need a 500K range when the longest trip they do is about 50K

Same problem with boats, Technology and attitudes will change with time and It's something we will see more of.

#33 Ishmael

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 05:06 AM

This whole line of reasoning is pretty short-sighted.
Where does the electricity come from? Magic? Shore power?
Fine if you are only doing races within 1 miles of your dock.
Useless for everyone else.

It is true that an electric only system will not work well for
you if you are frequently doing 30 mile powered deliveries.
And that shorepower will be part of the recharging operation.
But my reality is that I can go an entire month without using my engine at all.
At least 80% of the time I am able to sail out of, and back into the slip.
Most of my races start 3 miles from my slip, which would easily be in the
range of a simple electric system.

I'm sure It has a place for some users but like cars the range is the issue, People seem to need a 500K range when the longest trip they do is about 50K

Same problem with boats, Technology and attitudes will change with time and It's something we will see more of.


I read that as HTFU and row, you lazy bastard.

#34 Nomenclature

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 06:43 PM

I read that as HTFU and row, you lazy bastard.

I like to row, but it is not all that feasible on a 10,000lb boat.
With a belt drive electric, it just may be possible to uncouple
the motor and use a bicycle drive. I could probably get 500 RPM to the prop.




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